An Image Of The Mother Of God Should Be Decked With This Worldly Symbol,
As A Reward For Services Rendered, Will Be Obscure Only To Those Who
Fail To Appreciate The Earthly-Tangible Complexion Of Southern Religion.
Puerility Is Its Key-Note.
The Italian is either puerile or adult; the
Englishman remains everlastingly adolescent.
. . .
Now of course it is open to any one to say that the pious records from
which I have quoted are a desolation of the spirit; that they possess
all the improbability of the "Arabian Nights," and none of their charm;
that all the distempered dreamings to which our poor humanity is subject
have given themselves a rendezvous in their pages. I am not for
disputing the point, and I can understand how one man may be saddened by
their perusal, while another extracts therefrom some gleams of mirth.
For my part, I merely verify this fact: the native has been fed with
this stuff for centuries, and if we desire to enter into his feelings,
we must feed ourselves likewise - up to a point. The past is the key to
the present. That is why I have dwelt at such length on the subject - in
the hope of clearing up the enigma in the national character: the
unpassable gulf, I mean, between the believing and the unbelieving
sections of the community.
An Anglo-Saxon arriving at Bagnara and witnessing a procession in honour
of that Sacred Hat of the Mother of God which has led me into this
disquisition, would be shocked at the degree of bigotry implied.
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